The Recipe For Success: The Top 10 Talents That Make Successful Entrepreneurs
How to make sure that you, yourself, are not a barrier to your startup's success.
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I became an entrepreneur five years ago when I could no longer stand working for someone else. For those with a pull toward entrepreneurship, the nagging drive for autonomy never seems to wane.
Some know sooner than others that business ownership is for them. Others move in that direction, not because the entrepreneurial seed was planted long ago, but, because circumstances push them there out of necessity. Some of these circumstances include corporate down-sizing, working in a shrinking field, outdated skills in an industry, or difficulty finding employment due to factors such as being "too young" or "too old." Whatever your entrepreneurial origin story, I want to share some insights about who you are as an entrepreneur to help you avoid being forced to make an entrepreneurial exit.
There were reasons you didn't feel suited to be an employee, so the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure and have to return to life as an employee.
Before we dive into deepening your understanding of your wiring, let's look at some statistics, in case you're not yet an entrepreneur but you're thinking about making that leap. The consulting firm, McKinsey, describes the MENA region as a "burgeoning startup ecosystem" which has largely untapped potential. They also state corporate venture capital funds are quickly emerging in the developing MENA investment ecosystem.
Two reasons McKinsey cites for MENA's entrepreneurial potential are:
- 60% of the overall MENA population is under the age of 30
- Smart phone uptake is at 94%, with three hours daily spent on these devices
According to the 2017 Global Startup Genome Ecosystem Report (a survey which ranks global cities according to their ability to create environments in which startups thrive) not a single Arab country was represented. World Bank reports the UAE is the easiest Arab country to run a startup, but it's still more difficult than many places in the rest of the world. So, there's good news (enormous potential) and not-so-good news (barriers to entry) and I want to make sure that you, yourself, are not a barrier to your startup's success.
The top 10 entrepreneurial talents
The Gallup organization performed a study on successful entrepreneurs and boiled their success down to 10 specific talents. These are:
Determination: Persistence is required in business ownership because roadblocks are going to surface. If you're not prepared to bring tenacity to the table, that's a risk to your business.
Confidence: If you don't have a clear sense of your abilities, you're less likely to seize on opportunities where you are likely to succeed. The good news? Simply increasing awareness of your talents contributes to increased confidence.
Knowledge-seeker: People with this talent are prone to seek as much information as they can about their business. Armed with this knowledge, an entrepreneur is much more likely to be able to solve their complex business challenges.
Relationship-builder: Those with a relationship-building orientation have the interpersonal skills necessary to build a strong network of relationships, which helps their business succeed.
Disruptor: These entrepreneurs are creative thinkers who come up with new products and services regularly. They identify customer needs proactively and have a curious intellect that makes them quick learners.
Risk-taker: Quite simply, entrepreneurs strong in risk-taking focus more on the potential for reward than the potential for failure.
Independence: An independent business owner can run a business solo. Meaning, they don't need others to set goals for them and can juggle and follow through on their priorities independently.
Delegator: Entrepreneurs that try to do it all and don't let things go stunt business growth. Scalable business models require business owners to align their activities with their strengths and stay in their lane, which includes delegating not only tasks, but delegating authority to others. Ouch!
Selling: To be a strong seller, you must be able to clearly communicate the message of your business in a persuasive manner. These entrepreneurs are true ambassadors for their business!
Profitability: Entrepreneurs with this talent view all business decisions through the prism of profitability. You must know your sources of revenue, your expenses and set clear goals for the financial growth of your company. Someone needs to be keeping their mind on your dirhams and your dirhams on their mind (if it's not you).
Curious to know what kind of entrepreneur you are? The Gallup organization offers an entrepreneurial talent assessment called the Builder 10 profile based on the above 10 talents.
However, information without application won't lead to transformation.
Once you know your entrepreneurial talents and challenges, you will need to shape your role in your company around the strengths that are going to give you the greatest return on investment. You must also intentionally surround yourself with trusted advisors and the right people in the right roles (aligned to their strengths) to compensate for your weaknesses. For example, I am dominant in the top 8 talents with selling and profitability as moderate, or supporting, talents. This means I must work at these two things intentionally to be effective. Most of the time, when we're busy and stretched thin, we're not going to take time to apply conscious effort to activities and skills where we're not strongly oriented. Knowing this, I hired a VP of Operations for my company, YouMap LLC, who possesses these talents naturally. In fact, he regularly thinks about how my company can be profitable, forces me to address it, and keeps me accountable for it.